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MetaFilter and #walkingtoworktoday | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

MetaFilter and #walkingtoworktoday

MetaFilter and #walkingtoworktoday

As anyone that publishes posts, they never know what will pick up traction. Case in point: someone thought it was interesting enough to include my recent photo project #walkingtoworktoday on MetaFilter. I’ve been a lurker for sometime but not actively involved aside from reading a post from time to time. The traffic to my blog is good but you might not guess so because I haven’t broken that bubble of comments. So to have a community like MetaFilter chime in is valuable to read a slightly different pov from the traditional DesignNotes visitor.

Like any skeptical community site there’s people that are looking to poke holes into the argument—that’s cool because I’d do the same thing. Plus it offers a valuable insight into how people see Twitter, Flickr, Facebook at this current time. So with all the comments this was how I added my two points about why #walkingtoworktoday illustrates a great exercise in the bigger theme of citizen journalism.

My comment on MetaFilter

Reading all the different pov’s with the project is quite fascinating. There’s a couple points that I’d like to offer up—the first one is that if a person’s not into making their daily commute a bit more interesting or just don’t like the idea of keeping their eyes open, no big deal—I like doing it but it’s not for everyone.

The project is actually an exercise that I think has some fascinating implications for citizen journalism. If you swap out the #walkingtoworktoday photo for something else more newsworthy like #yankeeparade or #nycelectionriot or something that a large group of people accepts as a marker for a story, it creates glue that will bind all the media elements together (tweets, photos, headlines, blogposts etc.). Nothing new as I mention in my actual post about the project. All I’ve done is take a bunch of tools that are already out there and connected them together. It’s not the first time that someone’s done that. But to contrast how it can scale is worth noting. A previous photo project that I was a part of relied on manually uploading every pic and doing some hand copy + pasting. I’m not that technical so I’m sure there was an easy uploading tool that we could have used. The point being though is that at the end of the day the image and headline stayed in one place. Now that with a simple press of the button a photo can land on flickr, be mentioned on Twitter and be collected on a different site within a matter of seconds is pretty cool, especially for breaking news. Some people like finding their news from Twitter, others like reading stuff from their friend’s wall on Facebook. The thing is, that one photo wrapped with a hashtag starts floating around from one place to another collecting interest, all the while with enough data that a person can track who the original person that took the photo is—or at least who’s hosting the photo.

The actual site http://walkingtoworktoday.designnotes.info/ is essentially collecting all the elements in one place. Maybe you like Flickr but hate Twitter, yet there’s some valuable info coming in from a different tweet—there’s an opportunity to see it. There’s a couple additional things I’d like to do with the moduals, but as a first version there’s some interesting opportunities to collect a lot of elements tied to one event. It is debatable whether a hashtag is the best binding element, but for the time being it works decently because of how Twitter collects likeminded topics.

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